“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)


''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."



Heads of governments during the opening session of the African Union summit
on January 30, 2014 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa (AFP, Samuel Gebru)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Pakistani interfaith couples brave threats for forbidden love

Yahoo – AFP, Khurram Shahzad, 17 Aug 2014

Bushra Parveen (L) and her husband Riaz Masih pose with their children at
their home in Faisalabad, Pakistan, on May 9, 2014 (AFP Photo/Farooq Naeem)

Lahore (Pakistan) (AFP) - Thirteen years ago among the whirring looms of a garment factory in an eastern Pakistani city, a Muslim woman fell in love with a Christian co-worker.

Now married with three children, Kalsoom Bibi and her husband Yousuf Bhatti have been shunned by their communities, endured death threats and an abduction, all in the name of religious honour in this conservative Islamic country.

Marriage out of choice remains a taboo in Pakistan, particularly when it involves a partner outside one's own clan or faith group.

Video journalist Naadir Maan (L) and his 
wife Saba speak during an interview with
 AFP in Faisalabad, Pakistan, on May 9,
2014 (AFP Photo/Farooq Naeem)
While marriages between different members of Abrahamic faiths -- including Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- is permitted by law, a Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim man.

People who chose to convert out from Islam can be charged with blasphemy and face life in prison.

Kalsoom's first encounter with a member of another religion came at school, where the only Christian student was mercilessly bullied.

When she met Yousuf, she decided to question him about his faith to find out more. Long hours of discussion brought the two close together, and she eventually decided to convert.

It is a fact she hides to this day from her family.

"My mother died requesting me to leave my Christian husband," Kalsoom, a short woman in her twenties with deep brown eyes said, sitting on her bed in a modest two-room house with her husband and children.

"Had she known that I myself have been converted to Christianity, she would had died with grief or asked her family to kill me."

Such unions aren't officially recorded but rights activists believe there are thousands of such cases every year.

The couple say they now live among a more understanding community that provides them support and respect their choices -- but it wasn't always this way.

"The life after marriage was terrible. We went into hiding because the family and community threatened to kill us.

"We lived in hiding in Islamabad for several months and my son was born during that time," she said.

Yousuf said the most harrowing incident early on in their marriage when he was abducted by four Muslim militants and driven hours out of town to a deserted spot.

"They kept me there for several days and asked me why I married my wife.

"They wanted to kill me, but when I told them that I married my wife with her own will and because she also wanted to marry me -- and that I did not force her into this marriage -- they softened and released me after some days," he added.

Naveed Walter, President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP), said the case was symptomatic of a wider problem, which remains largely hidden from sight.

"In such cases (inter-faith marriages) people try to attack the whole community," he said.

Walter added his organisation had estimated 10,000 cases nationwide over the past four years.

Honour killings

Legally, there are no provisions in the criminal code against leaving Islam, though the country's blasphemy law -- which carries a life sentence -- has been invoked in recent cases against apostates.

But even when members from the minority community convert to Islam, they can still face a backlash.

Sana, a Christian teacher from the same eastern city met and fell in love with cameraman Salman Khawaja who had come to record a show about Christmas festivities in 2006.

Drawn to Islamic traditions and culture since her childhood, Sana decided to embrace Islam.

The couple's lives became "hellish" after marriage and they said they had to leave their city to avoid death.

"We were threatened from both Christian and Muslim communities. So we decided to leave the city to save our lives," Sana told AFP holding her two-year-old son.

Shamaun Anwar and his wife Nadia pose for a photo with their young child during
 an interview with AFP, in Faisalabad, Pakistan, on May 9, 2014 (AFP Photo/
Farooq Naeem)

Despite being a journalist with connections to local government officials, Salman found himself helpless to fight back.

"We decided to get married in another city to avoid any attacks by our families and communities," he said.

"Back at our homes, our families were planning to kill us for marrying across religion as they thought we had stolen their pride and honour.

"It was very difficult period for us, we remained in hiding for six months to avoid any attacks. I had no career over there," he said, adding that he drove a taxi to earn a living.

"When the situation got better, we returned ... but my family refused to accept us. Then we rented a house in a low category residential area and started a new life."

Rising extremism

For some, the trauma never goes away.

Nadia, a petite, light-skinned 19-year-old former Muslim fell in love with 24-year-old Christian man Shamaun Anwar, an embroiderer, who used to smile at her in the street as they went to work.

They planned to marry in secret until Nadia's parents found out about them and forced her to marry her cousin instead. When she refused to move in with him, they began beating her.

"They used to beat me whenever I told them that I won't live with my husband and will marry Shamaun," she said.

"They still threaten me, even after I divorced my cousin and married Shamaun. I am now more scared because I have converted to Christianity," she added tearfully.

Some campaigners including lawyer Akmal Bhatti advocate the creation of a civil marriage code as is the case in India so that it is possible to keep faith out of the wedding ceremony.

Others are less hopeful, citing the rising number of attacks against the country's beleaguered minorities as a sign of rising intolerance.

Related Articles:



"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / CreatorReligions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse),  Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“… New Tolerance

Look for a softening of finger pointing and an awakening of new tolerance. There will remain many systems for different cultures, as traditions and history are important to sustaining the integrity of culture. So there are many in the Middle East who would follow the prophet and they will continue, but with an increase of awareness. It will be the increase of awareness of what the prophet really wanted all along - unity and tolerance. The angel in the cave instructed him to "unify the tribes and give them the God of Israel." You're going to start seeing a softening of intolerance and the beginning of a new way of being.

Eventually, this will create an acknowledgement that says, "You may not believe the way we believe, but we honor you and your God. We honor our prophet and we will love you according to his teachings. We don't have to agree in order to love." How would you like that? The earth is not going to turn into one belief system. It never will, for Humans don't do that. There must be variety, and there must be the beauty of cultural differences. But the systems will slowly update themselves with increased awareness of the truth of a new kind of balance. So that's the first thing. Watch for these changes, dear ones.  …”

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mobile phone games developed in Africa

Companies developing games for mobile phones are springing up in East Africa. Although the mobile gaming market there is growing, financial returns are still small. But the developers aren't easily discouraged.

Deutsche Welle, 15 Aug 2014


On the display of 11-year-old Kanini's mobile phone, a matatu - one of those notorious Kenyan share taxis - is roaring along a straight road. The yellow-striped minibus passes a stop sign and more cash is clocked up on the taxi meter. "Cool" says Kanini. "You have to dodge all the other road users - trucks, motorbikes, old cars." Then, all of sudden, another minibus appears, a black one. The game ends - in a crash!

The mobile game is Ma3 Racer. "Matatus here in Nairobi drive like maniacs anyway," said Mwaura Kikore who had the idea for it. Kikore is one of the co-founders of Planet Rackus, the company that developed Kenya's first gaming apps.

Mwaura Kikore is planning a more
ambitious game with better graphics
The first version of Ma3 Racer (tatu means three in Kiswahili), with low resolution graphics for basic mobile phones, was released three years ago. The game's developers didn't have very high expectations of it. "If the game had been downloaded 10,000 times in the first year, we would have thought that great," Kikore said. "But then we reached that target in the first three days. In the first year we had notched up over a million downloads."

Preserving African culture

Basic mobile phones are common in Kenya. 80 percent of the population uses them because Kenya does not possess an extensive, reliable landline network. The same is true elsewhere in East Africa. The mobile games market is booming."We're counting on it," said Daniel Okalany, head of Kola Studios, a game development company in Uganda."We are hoping that smartphones will sell faster than all other mobile phones. That's why we are making apps for mobile phones and not for PCs or the Internet," he said.

Kola's games include Mosquito Rush in which you have to swat some rather aggressive insects. They also offer apps that simulate traditional African card games. "We are helping to preserve African culture" said Okalany. "Everything that isn't digitalized these days gets quickly forgotten. That's why we want to preserve these games."

Ma3 Racer exceeded the developers' wildest expectations

African heroes

Kikore said African games differ slightly from their European or American counterparts. "That doesn't necessarily mean that these games are just for Africans. They have universal appeal. But we have African heroes, the settings are African or involve Africans in non-African settings," he said.

At the moment it is not profitable to develop games solely for the African market. Most Africans cannot afford even the more inexpensive smartphones, let alone gaming apps for these devices. App stores are international anyway. The market for apps is worth billions of dollars (euros) and the competition is tough. "Nobody on this continent can earn his living from developing games. We all have day jobs and we develop games when we have time," said Kikore.

Kikore has a job in an advertising agency. But he doesn't want to stay there forever. He is working on an adventure game. It will have ten levels, 3D graphics and be sophisticated enough so that gamers will be prepared to pay to use it.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Uganda gay pride party after tough law overturned

Yahoo – AFP, Grace Matsiko, 9 Aug 2014

Ugandans wave a rainbow flag reading "Join hands to end LGBT (Kuchu's)
genocide" as they celebrate during a gay pride rally in Entebbe, on August 9, 2014

Dancing and waving rainbow-coloured flags, Ugandan activists held their first gay pride rally Saturday since the overturning of a tough anti-homosexuality law, which authorities have appealed.

"This event is to bring us together. Everyone was in hiding before because of the anti-homosexuality law," organiser Sandra Ntebi told AFP.

"It is a happy day for all of us, getting together," Ntebi said, noting that police had granted permission for the invitation-only "Uganda Pride" rally.

(Photo: Isaac Kasamani/AFP)
The overturned law, condemned as "abominable" by rights groups but popular among many Ugandans, called for proven homosexuals to be jailed for life.

The constitutional court threw it out on a technicality on August 1, six months after it took effect, and the government swiftly filed an appeal, while lawmakers have signed a petition for a new vote on the bill.

Homosexuality remains illegal in Uganda, punishable by a jail sentence. But it is no longer illegal to promote homosexuality, and Ugandans are no longer obliged to denounce gays to the authorities.

Amid music and laughter, activists gathered at botanical gardens on the shores of Lake Victoria, barely a kilometre (half a mile) from the presidential palace at Entebbe, a key town some 35 kilometres from the capital Kampala.

"Some Ugandans are gay. Get over it," read one sticker a man had pasted onto his face.

'Now I have the courage'

Ugandan Deputy Attorney General Fred Ruhinda said Saturday that state lawyers had lodged an appeal against the ruling at the Supreme Court, the country's highest court.

"We are unsatisfied with the court ruling," Ruhinda told AFP. "The law was not intended to victimise gay people, it was for the common good."

(Photo: Isaac Kasamani/AFP)
In their surprise ruling last week, judges said it had been passed without the necessary quorum of lawmakers in parliament.

Rights groups said the law triggered a sharp increase in arrests and assaults on members of the country's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Homophobia is widespread in Uganda, where American-style evangelical Christianity is on the rise.

Gay men and women face frequent harassment and threats of violence.

On Saturday, however, activists celebrated openly.

"Since I discovered I was gay I feared coming out, but now I have the courage after the law was thrown out," Alex Musoke told AFP, one of more than 100 people at the event.

One pair of activists waved a rainbow flag with a slogan appealing for people to "join hands" to end the "genocide" of homosexuals.

Some wore masks for fear of being identified -- Uganda's tabloid newspapers have previously printed photographs of prominent activists -- while others showed their faces openly and wore colourful fancy dress.

(Photo: Isaac Kasamani/AFP)
But activist Pepe Onziema said he and his colleagues would not rest until they were sure the law was gone for good.

"Uganda is giving a bad example, not only to the region but to the world, by insisting on this law," he said.

"We are Africans, we want to show an African struggle by civil society."

There was little police presence, and no one came to protest the celebration, even if many in the town said they did not approve.

"This is unbelievable, I can't imagine being a gay," said motorbike taxi driver William Kamurasi in disgust.

"It's a shame to Uganda. Police must stop these activities of the gays."

Lawmakers demand new vote

Critics said President Yoweri Museveni signed the law to win domestic support ahead of a presidential election set for 2016, which will be his 30th year in power.

(Photo: Emmanuel Leroux-Nega)
But it lost him friends abroad, with several international donors freezing or redirecting millions of dollars of government aid, saying the country had violated human rights and democratic principles.

US Secretary of State John Kerry likened the law to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany.

Analysts suggest that Museveni secretly encouraged last week's court ruling as it provided a way to avoid the appearance of caving in to foreign pressure.

But gay rights activists warn the battle is not over.

Lawmakers signed a petition calling for a new vote on the bill, and to bypass parliamentary rules that require it be formally reintroduced from scratch -- a process that could take years.



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

US announces $14 bn in new investments at Africa summit

Yahoo – AFP, Paul Handley, 5 Aug 2014

A sign is seen promoting the US-Africa Leaders Summit is seen July 31, 2014
 outside the US Department of State (L) where President Obama will host African
Leaders August 4-6,2014 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards)

Washington (AFP) - The United States heralded $14 billion worth of new investments in Africa Tuesday as Washington seeks to demonstrate it is ready to take a strong role in the continent's economic takeoff.

President Barack Obama is to announce the projects later in the day to some 45 African heads of state and government gathered in the US capital for a historic, three-day summit.

The first day of the meeting Monday saw US officials chiding their guests over democratic reform and civil rights.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks
 at the Resilience and Food Security in
Changing Climate Forum at the National
 Academy of Sciences as part of the first 
U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit on August 4,
2014 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo/
Pete Marovich)
But now Obama and titans of commerce and industry will try to convince their counterparts that America is as determined to take part in Africa's growth story as China or Europe.

"With a young, dynamic population and a burgeoning private sector, Africa is already a vital market for foreign investors. And that is why we are here today," US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told political and business leaders.

"We want to drive more US investment in Africa, increase trade between Africa and the United States, and spur job creation both here and in Africa."

Hundreds of US and African business chiefs are joining political leaders in forums Tuesday, including the top executives of General Electric, Coca-Cola and Walmart, as well as African billionaires such as Nigerian commodities king Aliko Dangote, telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, and Ashish Thakkar, the young founder of the tech-focused Mara Group.

But outside of a few top companies, US businesses faced criticism that they are less knowledgeable and more afraid of risks on the continent than their European and Asian rivals.

The United States remains the largest source of investment but most of that has been in the oil and gas sector.

Meanwhile, China and Europe have built stronger positions in infrastructure, manufacturing and trade, with China's trade with Africa more than double that of the United States.

American companies "are still thinking about Africa as a decade ago... whereas things have really changed dramatically. Africa now has been growing at about 5.5 percent on average in the last decade," said Dangote, Africa's richest man whose fortune is estimated at more than $20 billion.

"There is a lot of perceived risk. People only talk about risk. But the majority of those who perceive risk don't know the story. They have not really been there."

'Time to do business is now'

US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said Washington would boost efforts to build commercial ties, with more government help on financing and more trade missions going both ways.

"The time to do business in Africa is no longer five years away. The time to do business is now."

Pritzker stressed that building trade and investments with Africa would be good for both sides, helping African countries develop and creating jobs in the United States.

"As Africa's middle class continues to expand, we hope to see our export numbers grow," she said.

The summit was partly overshadowed by the rapid spread of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, with two infected Americans evacuated to the United States for treatment, and a first case appearing in Saudi Arabia.

As the World Health Organization said the toll had neared 900, the World Bank announced up to $200 million in emergency aid to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to help contain the outbreak.


Obama said it was time to transform the US relationship with Africa
to a more equal footing
Obama: World needs 'prosperous and self-reliant Africa'


"The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll)

".. Africa

Let me tell you where else it's happening that you are unaware - that which is the beginning of the unity of the African states. Soon the continent will have what they never had before, and when that continent is healed and there is no AIDS and no major disease, they're going to want what you have. They're going to want houses and schools and an economy that works without corruption. They will be done with small-minded leaders who kill their populations for power in what has been called for generations "The History of Africa." Soon it will be the end of history in Africa, and a new continent will emerge.

Be aware that the strength may not come from the expected areas, for new leadership is brewing. There is so much land there and the population is so ready there, it will be one of the strongest economies on the planet within two generations plus 20 years. And it's going to happen because of a unifying idea put together by a few. These are the potentials of the planet, and the end of history as you know it.

In approximately 70 years, there will be a black man who leads this African continent into affluence and peace. He won't be a president, but rather a planner and a revolutionary economic thinker. He, and a strong woman with him, will implement the plan continent-wide. They will unite. This is the potential and this is the plan. Africa will arise out the ashes of centuries of disease and despair and create a viable economic force with workers who can create good products for the day. You think China is economically strong? China must do what it does, hobbled by the secrecy and bias of the old ways of its own history. As large as it is, it will have to eventually compete with Africa, a land of free thinkers and fast change. China will have a major competitor, one that doesn't have any cultural barriers to the advancement of the free Human spirit. …."



“ … The next one: You're going to heal a continent. Watch for it. It begins. Watch for major shift in Africa. We have said this before, even within the meetings I spoke in what you call the United Nations. Africa has never even been a potential player in the economic field, because it has been sick. What happens when you heal a continent? I'm going to tell you. Suddenly, the people on that continent also want what you have - government that works, peace, their own homes, schools, hospitals, and even banks where they can borrow from. They don't have any of those now, not really. Everything with substance is from somewhere else. That means you're going to have a continent that's going to arise that will become a major player on the stage of Earth's finances and political influence - an entire continent with all the resources on it, with even the potential for unification of common purpose, much like what you have now in your EU. I'm giving you information, and when it happens, again, I say you'll remember where you heard it.

Many years ago, the prevailing thought was that nobody should consider China as a viable player on the economic stage. They were backward, filled with a system that would never be westernized, and had no wish to become joined with the rest of the world's economic systems. Look what has happened in only 30 years. Now, look at Africa differently.. ...”

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Moroccan and Jewish boats debut at Gay Pride canal parade

DutchNews.nl, Saturday 02 August 2014

One of the firsts at this year's boat parade was a Moroccan boat. Photo: Novum

Despite the threat of storms, tens of thousands of people turned out to watch the 19th Gay Pride boat parade on Saturday, which this year included a Moroccan boat for the first time.

The start of the boat parade was brought forward by almost an hour because of the weather and started with a moment’s silence to remember the people who died in Malaysia Airways flight MH17.

The Aids Fonds charity and research group lost several prominent members in the disaster and led the procession with two boats. Banners on the side read 'Remembering our colleagues on MH17' and 'Our work goes on. Together we will beat the virus'.

‘Taking part was a special memorial to the five Dutch Aids fighters and all the other victims,’ said a spokesman.

Jewish boat

In total, 80 boats took part in the parade. They included - for the first time - specifically Moroccan boat and a Jewish boat with transsexual singer Dana International.

There was also a boat full of members of the armed forces and a city council boat with mayor Eberhard van der Laan and dozens of council officials.

Amsterdam police also had a boat, staffed by officers carrying placards which read ‘we listen,' pink in blue’ and 'Call us.'

Among the famous faces taking part were tattoo king Henk Schiffmacher and Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst.

Related Articles:


Friday, August 1, 2014

Mysterious lake in Tunisian desert turns from turquoise to green sludge

The stretch of water, dubbed the Lac de Gafsa, may be the result of a rupture in the rock above the local water table

The Guardian, Kim Willsher, Friday 1 August 2014

The lake has gone from turquoise to a murky green colour. Photograph: Facebook

The lake appeared in the Tunisian desert like a mirage; one minute there was nothing but scorching sand, the next a large expanse of turquoise water.

For locals, roasting in the 40C heat, the temptation to cool off in the inviting water quickly overcame any fears about the mysterious pool.

Hundreds flocked to what quickly became known as the Lac de Gafsa or Gafsa beach to splash, paddle, dive, and fling themselves from rocks into the lake, ignoring warnings that the water could be contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals, riddled with disease or possibly radioactive. Even after the water turned a murky green, they arrived in droves, undeterred.

"Some say it is a miracle, while others are calling it a curse," Lakhdar Souid, a Tunisian journalist, told France 24 television.

The Lac de Gafsa is about 25km from the Tunisian city of Gafsa and has
been irresistable to swimmers in the heat. Photograph: Facebook

"In the first few days, the water was crystal clear; a turquoise blue. Now it's green and full of algae, which means it's not being replenished."

Mehdi Bilel was returning from a marriage in the north of the country when he spotted the lake in the desert canyon 25km from the city of Gafsa on the road from Om Larayes.

"After several long hours on the road without a break, I honestly thought I was hallucinating," he told journalists. "I don't know much about science and thought it was magic, something supernatural."

Gafsa became the centre of the country's mining industry after phosphate was discovered in the southern Tunisian region in 1886. Tunisia is now the world's fifth largest exporter of phosphate, which is used in industry.

Shepherds discovered the lake, thought to be up to 18 meters deep and covering one hectare, three weeks ago. Local geologists suspect seismic activity may have ruptured the rock above the water table sending the liquid to the surface.

Other theories have suggested the canyon has simply collected rain water.

"News of the lake's appearance has spread like wildfire and now hundreds of people, eager to escape a heatwave, go there to swim," Souid wrote in the Tunisia Daily newspaper.

"This region is overflowing with large deposits of phosphate, which can leave behind radioactive residue so there is a real risk that the water is contaminated and carcinogenic. There's no security of any kind.

"The site is certainly stunning and there are many large rocks perfect for diving, but it has become infested with green algae, meaning the water is stagnant and conducive to diseases."

Ten days ago Hatef Ouigi, of Gafsa's office of public safety, warned that the lake is dangerous and not fit for swimming in. He said this was a cautionary measure while scientists take samples and verify the water. "Depending on the results, we will take measures," Ouigi said.

There are plenty of places to dive but apparently no women swimming.
Photograph: Facebook

Since then, there has been no further official news, though experts have warned that if the lake has indeed formed because of a rupture in the water table, the cracks from which the water came could cause the water to flow the other way and drag swimmers to the bottom.

"There's no security, no lifeguards and civil protection people only turned up in the first few days," journalist Souid added.

Bathers have been posting photographs on the Lac de Gafsa facebook page.

Related Article:



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Scientist who discovered Ebola says he'd happily sit next to infected person on the train

Ninemsn - AFP, July 31, 2014

A nurse sprays preventives to disinfect the waiting area for visitors at the ELWA
Hospital during an outbreak of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia (AFP)

The scientist who helped discover the Ebola virus said the outbreak in west Africa was unlikely to trigger a major epidemic outside the region, adding he would happily sit next to an infected person on a train.

But Professor Peter Piot told AFP that a "really bad" sense of panic and lack of trust in the authorities in west Africa had contributed to the world's largest-ever outbreak.

The Belgian scientist, now based in Britain, urged officials to test experimental vaccines on people with the virus so that when it inevitably returns, the world is prepared.

Since March, there have been 1,201 cases of Ebola and 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has warned that the crisis is set to get worse and that there is no overarching strategy to handle the crisis.

Piot co-discovered the Ebola virus as a 27-year-old researcher in 1976.

He is now director of the prestigious London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and was previously executive director of the United Nations' HIV/AIDS program UNAIDS.

Even if someone carrying Ebola were to fly to Europe, the United States or another part of Africa, "I don't think that will give rise to a major epidemic," he told AFP.

"Spreading in the population here, I'm not that worried about it," he said.

"I wouldn't be worried to sit next to someone with Ebola virus on the Tube as long as they don't vomit on you or something. This is an infection that requires very close contact."

His insights are born of deep experience in the field, highlighted by his impressive CV and the mementos from around the world that dot his office in London.

Piot helped identify Ebola when the laboratory where he was working in Antwerp was sent a blood sample from a Catholic nun who had died in what was then Zaire and is now DR Congo.

From the blood, they isolated a new virus which was later confirmed to be Ebola.

He later went to Yambuku, a village in Zaire's Equateur province, where an epidemic had taken hold.

"People were devastated because in some villages, one in 10, one in eight people could die from Ebola," he said.

"I was scared but I was 27 so you think you are invincible."

Researchers noticed most of the infections were among women aged between 20 and 30 and clustered around a clinic where they went for pre-natal consultations.

It turned out that the virus was being transmitted through a handful of needles which were being reused to give injections to pregnant women.

There were also a string of outbreaks linked to funerals.

"Like in any culture, someone who dies is washed, the body is laid out but you do this with bare hands, without gloves. Someone who died from Ebola, that person is covered with virus because of vomitus, diarrhoea, blood," he said.

"That's how then you get new outbreaks and the same thing is happening now in west Africa."

He said recent history in Liberia and Sierra Leone was complicating efforts to tackle the deadly virus, which kills as many as nine-tenths of the people it infects.

"Let's not forget that these countries are coming out of decades of civil war," he said.

"Liberia and Sierra Leone are now trying to reconstruct themselves so there is a total lack of trust in authorities, and that combined with poverty and very poor health services I think is the explanation why we have this extensive outbreak now."

Staff are also often poorly equipped with no protective gear or gloves, he added.

While there are a couple of experimental Ebola vaccines and treatments which have shown promising results in animals, these need to be tested on people, he added.

"I think that the time is now, at least in capitals, to offer this kind of treatment for compassionate use but also to find out if it works so that for the next epidemic, we are ready," he said.

"It is quite clear that new viruses will emerge all the time and Ebola will come again -- hopefully not to this extent."

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'Hundreds of Dutch Moroccans involved in gangland killings'

DutchNews.nl, Thursday 31 July 2014

(NOS/ANP)
Hundreds of Dutch Moroccan youths are involved in at least six gangland killings in the Netherlands and Antwerp as well as a string of violent robberies, not just a few dozen as thought earlier, the Volkskrant reported on Thursday.

The group includes drugs dealers, gunmen and 'facilitators' who are all linked to each other and live in both the Netherlands and Morocco, the paper quotes Amsterdam detectives as saying.

The paper bases its claims on a police investigation into a string of gangland killings which began in 2012.

The robberies take place in the Netherlands and then the perpetrators move to Morocco which does not deport its nationals, the paper says. The money they earn through their crime spree is also taken out of the country.

Tangiers

Detectives claim between 25% and 33% of the new appartments under construction in Tangiers are funded with criminal proceeds.

Dutch detectives visit Morocco on a weekly basis as part of their investigations and have so far sequestrated property and other possessions totaling some €100m, the paper says.

The public prosecution department has now signed an agreement with the Moroccan authorities to make it easier to prosecute people suspected of crimes in the Netherlands under Moroccan law – with the exception of the death penalty.

Last week, Hamza B, suspected of a double shooting in Amsterdam in December 2012, became the first person to go on trial in Morocco under the new agreement. Two other suspects are being tried in the Netherlands.

The killing is said to be part of a dispute centering on 200 kilos of cocaine.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Uganda activists launch court bid to overturn anti-gay law

Yahoo – AFP, Emmanuel Leroux-Nega, 30 July 2014

Ugandan human rights and gay rights activists attend a hearing at the
constitutional court in Kampala on July 30, 2014 (AFP)

Ugandan activists launched a petition Wednesday at the constitutional court seeking to overturn tough anti-gay laws that have been condemned by rights groups as draconian.

Signed by Uganda's veteran President Yoweri Museveni in February, the law calls for homosexuals to be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and obliges Ugandans to denounce gays to the authorities.

But the activists argue that the law was passed in parliament without the necessary quorum of lawmakers.

The 10 petitioners -- including two Ugandan rights organisations -- also claim that the law violates the constitutional right to privacy and dignity, as well as the right to be free from discrimination, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

"I have a very good feeling about it," the group's lawyer Nicholas Opio said after the hearing in a crowded courtroom.

He said that if the judges decide the law was not correctly passed by parliament, "the entire act will collapse".

Rights groups say the law has triggered a sharp increase in arrests and assaults of members of the country's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

'Civilised' against 'barbarians'

Western nations have also made a raft of aid cuts to Uganda in protest since the law was passed.

But outspoken anti-gay preacher Pastor Martin Ssempa, who was in court, defended the law and warned against the "judicial abortion of our bill" due to international pressure.

"Our teachings find sodomy as being repugnant, and our members of parliament were right in passing this law," Ssempa said.

"It is really a question between the civilised and the barbarians."

US Secretary of State John Kerry has likened the Ugandan law to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany.

Washington last month froze some aid programmes, as well as cancelling military air exercises and barring entry to the US for specific Ugandan officials involved in "human rights abuses", including against the gay community.

The White House said the legislation "runs counter to universal human rights and complicates our bilateral relationship".

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye has accused the government of using the issue of homosexuality to divert attention from domestic problems such as corruption scandals or Kampala's military backing of South Sudan's government against rebel forces.

But homophobia is widespread in Uganda, where American-style evangelical Christianity is on the rise.

Gay men and women face frequent harassment and threats of violence.

With tabloid newspapers printing pictures of dozens of people alleged to be gay, scores have fled the country.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said in a joint report in May that Uganda's LGBT community had faced a "surge in human rights violations", with people being arrested, evicted or losing their jobs.

The report claimed at least one transgender person had been murdered since the law was passed.





Members of Uganda's gay community and gay rights activists react as the
 anti-gay law is declared null and void by the constitutional court. Photograph:
Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images

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"The Akashic Circle" – Jul 17, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Religion, The Humanization of GodBenevolent Design, DNA, Akashic Circle, (Old) Souls, Gaia, Indigenous People, Talents, Reincarnation, Genders, Gender Switches, In “between” Gender Change, Gender Confusion, Shift of Human Consciousness, Global Unity,..... etc.)  - (Text version)

“… Gender Switching

Old souls, let me tell you something. If you are old enough, and many of you are, you have been everything. Do you hear me? All of you. You have been both genders. All of you have been what I will call between genders, and that means that all of you have had gender switches. Do you know what happens when it's time for you to switch a gender? We have discussed it before. You'll have dozens of lifetimes as the same gender. You're used to it. It's comfortable. You cannot conceive of being anything else, yet now it's time to change. It takes approximately three lifetimes for you to get used to it, and in those three lifetimes, you will have what I call "gender confusion."

It isn't confusion at all. It's absolutely normal, yet society often will see it as abnormal. I'm sitting here telling you you've all been through it. All of you. That's what old souls do. It's part of the system. …”